Winter Sprints 2017

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Now an annual event, the Winter Sprints offer the Novices another chance to gain some valuable race experience. Having won it the last two years, the Novices were keen to renew the rivalry with Trinity and keep the trophy up North for another year.

The day itself provided near-perfect water conditions and as the crews took it in turns to make their way down to the start line at Belfast Boat Club, the results began to roll in. A crowd had amassed at the finish line near the Queen's pontoon and they were treated to a number of incredibly close races.

Overall, Trinity men put in a very strong performance to win their races 5-2, leaving it to the Queen's Ladies to win all but one of their races and ensure that Queen's came out top on the day. 

We'd like to extend our warmest thanks to DUBC and DULBC for making the journey up and for a great day's racing.

Men's Tub Champs 2017

On Sunday the 19th of November, the Novice men descended upon the boathouse to take part in the fêted and fabled Tub Champs. A first chance at silverware, but more importantly a chance to write themselves into history of this fine club. Names were taken, and entered into a hat. As pairs were drawn, and the races populated, a few favourite crews were apparent. And in true Tub Champs style, they all got knocked out in the first round.

Jack Lafferty tries his hand at Coxing for the first, and hopefully last, time.

Jack Lafferty tries his hand at Coxing for the first, and hopefully last, time.

In the end, after some questionable coxing, jettisoned riggers and uncooperative slides, the final was contested by the quiet and unassuming crews of Alex Hill and Keelan Logan vs Bailey Gribben and Ben Forrest.

Both crews rowed their best race of the day but with Ben setting a steady rhythm and Bailey providing the horsepower, they were able to take the final race right at the line, to become the 2017 Tub Champions.

2017 Tub Champions Bailey Gribben and Ben Forrest

2017 Tub Champions Bailey Gribben and Ben Forrest

Novice 1kms

A busy weekend for the Novice squad as they faced their first Erg test on Saturday morning. As part of the BUCS Indoors, the Novices undertook a 1km piece on the ergs. The stage was set up in the PEC and things kicked off at 9am with the first set of participants. With a thorough warm-up under the command of Ewan Murray and James Cooke complete, they were called to front-stops and after a moment of deafening silence, they were unleashed.

As the morning ran on, Women and Men alike posted strong scores, amid anguished faces and determined cries. Roared on by the rest of their squad, one by one they reached the end. With a mixture of relief and lactic acid, the atmosphere was buoyant. Not only were the scores strong but each Novice now had a marker for themselves to surpass in the near future.

 

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In the spirit of inclusion, the coxes also joined in to cap off a morning of graft, taking part in their own 500m competition. Experience proved decisive as Ed Wilson came out narrowly on top.

Lisle Halkett left nothing in the tank

Lisle Halkett left nothing in the tank

Congratulations go to Jayne Mulhall and Lisle Halkett for coming top on the day with times of 3.40 and 3.06 respectively. Also congratulations to Kathryn Spinks-Dear, who was unable to take part on the day but subsequently pulled a fantastic time of 3.38, coming top of the Ladies squad overall.

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We'd also like to take the opportunity to wish Novice Coach Niall Moore well as he undertakes his placement at PCEA Hospital, Kikuyu, Kenya. We eagerly await his return to the fold.

November Update

As we continue through the winter months, the days have been getting shorter as the training gets harder. We hope this reaches you well, and would like to give you an update on what we have and will be getting up to at Queens Rowing.

The weekend of the 4th November, Queens sent 4 athletes to the GB Rowing Trials 1st Assessment in Boston, Lincolnshire. The trial consisted of a 2k erg and if successful, a 5k water trial. Sam Mckeown in the Mens Open category pulled an outstanding 5.55.8 to come 10th out of 149 entries. He then finished 15th on the water. Fiona Bell in the Women’s Open category stormed to a PB with a time of 6.58.1 finishing 16th out of 98 entries and then 14th on the water. Miles Taylor in the Men’s Lightweight category also achieved a personal best time of 6.26.3, finishing 17th out of 48 and later 12th on the water.

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The following weekend saw us unable to compete at Bann Head. The senior squads continued training as normal, but with our novices determined not to miss out on any racing activity, a mini-head was held, with write up to follow this post.

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This past weekend, Queens Rowing took part in the BUCS Indoor Rowing Championships. The championships included a 1K for our beginner men and women and a 2k for our senior athletes. Everyone pushed themselves to fantastic performances, with PB’s for the majority of our athletes. We await the official results of this event, but hope to see Queens athletes high up on the leader boards. Our goal is to carry on from our successful past season, keeping the Queen’s name out there to be talked about as a high performing university.

The years remaining events are the Queens Vs Trinity Novice sprints to be held on the 9th December, the annual dinners as well as the Lagan Festive Head on the 16th of December. We will let you know more about these events and the results of the BUCS Indoor Rowing Championships in due course.

Novice Mini-Head

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Unable to compete at Bann Head, the Novices had their own Mini-Head on the Lagan. Training hard over the last few months, they were keen to finally cut their teeth with a first race on the water. Conditions were kind, with little wind and a forgiving current, the stage was set for a little bit of inter-squad competition, giving context to all they had learnt thus far and offering the Novice coxes a chance to take charge.

Ed Wilson briefs the coxes

Ed Wilson briefs the coxes

Marshalled at the Waterfront and set off at ten second intervals, the crews embarked on a 3km slog down the river. Driven on by the coxes and fighting off pursuing boats, through gritted teeth the crews battled down the river.

Despite the occasional crab, all crews rowed well under pressure, maintained their composure and  made their way down the river in good time. With their first race under their belts, focus now turns to the BUCS Indoor 1kms on 18th November with the Men's Tub Champs following on Sunday 19th November.

 

 

Captains Addresses 2017/18

Queen's Rowing Captains Paddy Holden and Vikki Wallace

Paddy Holden - QUBBC Captain

Welcome to Queen’s University Belfast Boat Club, a club where student aims and objectives take priority. I will take this opportunity to introduce myself, Patrick Holden, Captain of QUBBC for the 2017/18 season. After a summary of my background in Queen’s Rowing I wish to share some of the core aims that the club is working towards throughout the season ahead.

  My responsibilities at QUBBC have progressed from Novice, to Novice Manager and now onto Captain. Of course, novice year was spent feeling untouchable, winning medals and cups at Irish University Championships, Skibbereen regatta, Queen’s regatta and British University Championship’s. Stepping up to intermediate level, reality set in that victories were harder to come by. After a shaky start to the season, a new hope in the form of Trevor McKnight arrived in December, which, in turn, directly improved the structure and positivity of the squad. Against every odd, we pipped Oxford University on the line to take home the bronze medal in the light weight Championship 8+ at BUCS regatta.

 Parallel to my experience as a rower was the ever-rewarding job of novice manager alongside (now Vice-Captain) Tom Drummond. Watching the men clean sweep Britain and Ireland in the 8+, and become the most successful novice squad ever at Queen’s topped the year off in fanatic style. Thanks to our Novice coaches Jason Greenwood, Ewan Murray, Paddy Doc, James Cook and Mark McMullan, the club can continue to strengthen and build these novice rowers into the senior squad. 

 One of the leading aims of the men’s club is to field the fastest 8+ that it can produce throughout the year. Although still performing in lightweight rowing, a focus on open weight boats (especially in Ireland) is the way forward for the club. The 2017/18 season will see the Senior Queen’s 8+ grow, develop and perform by competing at those prestigious Head and regatta races such as British Championships, BUCS Head, Eights’ Head, Irish University Championships, BUCS regatta, London Met, Henley Royal and Irish Championships.

Queen’s rowing is experiencing a movement. A movement among those who run the club- our student athletes. Off the water, it is our goal to maintain and strengthen our position as a representative student society. It is our committee, our constitution and our community that is a reminder of our importance and authority. My aim as Captain of the Men’s Club is to prioritise the goals and objectives of the students and to help fulfil the sporting goals we set out to achieve as one squad. We are the life blood of the sport who will continue to exercise our responsibilities and authority to do so. This, a precedent that has been set since the creation of the Boat Club in 1931.

It is our alumni club who unquestionably support the student aims and objectives as well as provide continuity for each year’s committee. For this, I would like to thank Lady Victoria Boat Club on behalf of everyone at Queen’s Rowing. The background help and support is essential for the running of QUBBC. As part of our responsibility as student athletes who run the club, we will continue to educate oarsmen on the role of Lady Vic to develop relations between club and alumni.

The 2017/18 season is already reaching goals set out during the summer. Our brand-new sponsorship deal with FinTrU, Thanks to past novice rower, Ronan Savage, is a great example of the club’s early success. Headed by Darragh McCarthy, FinTrU are a rapidly expanding and professional financial services company who have agreed to support Queen’s Rowing with trailer transport to regattas. Thanks to FinTrU, the club will be able to perform at more regattas further afield, which will undoubtedly aid our future success on the water.

Thanks to our new and improved PR system you will be able to keep up to date more frequently on Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Don’t miss out as we embark on an ambitious season on and off the water.

Paddy Holden                                                                                                      QUBBC Captain

Vikki Wallace - QUBLBC Captain

Hello, my name is Vikki Wallace.  I started rowing 4 years ago as a first year student, studying Mathematics and Computer Science.  Despite having no experience in the boat and being “vertically challenged” as some would say, I figured “why not” give it a go.  However, I don’t think anybody could have imagined I’d be entering the 2017/18 season as Captain of QUBLBC (and what a privilege it is). 

The club has become a huge part of my life over the past four years for many reasons. The obvious one, of course, is the training.  I have seen myself evolve from a student enjoying a couple of taster sessions a week whilst revelling in the hedonistic student life to one whose 6 a.m. alarm is set daily, who devotes themselves to 12 training sessions per week and rarely leaves the boathouse.  The not-so-obvious reason, and often one they leave out when they urge you to sign up at the fresher’s fair, is the relationship you form with the sport and the people around you.  Those painfully cold winter mornings on the river and countless kilometers on the erg in the tropical heat of the PEC is much more bearable when spirited by the infectious laughs of your crew members.  These girls have become like family to me; such friendships are hard to come by.  The endless amount of support Lady Victoria provides has largely contributed to the success of our club and the team morale, which we at QUBLBC are hugely grateful for.  Not forgetting the coaches, in particular, Trevor McKnight, Julie Lynch and Stuart Kelly who have had to put up with my complaints, tears and ultimately, faff.  These people have made the club a home, and my aim as captain is to give back what this club has given to me.

So, this year, we are going to come back bigger, better and fight harder.  Following the fresher’s fair and recruitment, we are excited by the huge number of students who seem massively interested in the sport; and have already shown true potential on the water.  I’m certain that with the coaching and support of our experienced team of novice coaches, including Andy Wells, Ewan Murray and Stuart Kelly, this year promises to be an exciting one for the novice squad.  The Intermediate women have entered the new season fast and furiously with a series of erg tests, 14k time trials and those routine 6:30 starts.  We intend on returning to some of our favourite Head races and Regattas, including: Bann, Lagan, BUCs Head, Erne, Irish University Championships, BUCs regatta, Queen’s Boat race and Irish Championships.  We also intend to compete at Women’s Eight Head of River, Women’s Henley and London Met Regatta.  With ample ambition and drive fuelling our desire to succeed, I’m confident we will come back from each event triumphant.

Finally, I’d like to welcome our new sponsors for the year, FinTrU ltd, to the team!  We introduced them to the club in style by showing them the ropes of the river before challenging them to some very competitive side-by-side racing! They certainly brought “passion, partnership, people and professionalism” to the river; we hope to bring the same values to our club this year.

Vikki Wallace                                                                                                     QUBLBC Captain

 

Novice Taster Sessions 2017

Queen's Rowing Novice Taster Sessions 2017

Having gathered a hefty list of prospective oarsmen and women, the next priority was to put on great taster sessions to give them a first taste of rowing and get them hooked. Given the bigger than expected turnout, extra sessions were planned, with a carefully planned pipeline of tour of a boat, stretching, demonstration on ergs followed by a coached session on the water. 

With all members of the club chipping in and manning the stations (or boats), the gates swung open in anticipation of swarms of fresh-faced newcomers. Conditions were kind to us. The water was calm, wind was light and skies were blue. 

As attendees began to arrive and feed into the pipeline, crews were formed and Novices were sent on their maiden paddles. Averting any disasters and with plenty of enthusiasm from coaches and Novices alike, the day was a complete success. Bringing boats back in at the slip and being met with broad smiles and sweat-streamed brows was immensely satisfying.

After weeks of planning and effort, worry and panic, recruitment was officially a success. In the subsequent sessions, attendance has remained much higher than in recent years, giving us both the numbers and talent to begin forging strong competitive crews for the season ahead.  

Novice Recruitment 2017

Queen's Rowing Recruitment Lanyon Building QUB - September 2017

As a new season dawns, the focus of both clubs turned to Novice recruitment. Novice rowing has long been the lifeblood of Queen's Rowing and we set about recruiting a new intake with renewed vigour, keen to build upon last year's Novice successes.

Fresher's Week began and arrived at the Lanyon Building, with boat, blades and trestles in tow. From there we spread out all over campus, seeking out enthusiastic people keen to try something new, something brilliant. Interest was strong among the fresh faced new students.  As the week went on the weather began to conspire against us but with an ever-swelling list of interested recruits we retreated to the boathouse to make plans for the Fresher's Fair.

A more targeted event, with a captive audience, the Fresher's Fair is an essential day in the recruitment stage of the season. With all Clubs and Societies on display, it's an opportunity to present Queen's Rowing as the professional and prestigious outfit it is known to be. With medals, trophies and our promo video on display, and this time protected from the elements, we once again descended upon the Fair in numbers.

As the day the progressed, the sign-up sheet grew longer, and as the crowds peaked we averaged one new recruit every minute. This was a fantastic display of both clubs at their very best, with never fewer than 20 members espousing with genuine affection and enthusiasm the virtues of not only rowing but of Queen's Rowing itself. In doing so we were able to more than double our number of signups in one day alone, a fantastic achievement and hopefully a good omen for the season to come. 

Exhausted but content with another successful recruitment drive, we packed up our stall and began to make plans for the first taster sessions. With more recruits than we dared to hope for, the emphasis now shifted to giving them a first taste of Queen's Rowing and giving them a great start to their rowing careers.